UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins says that at least one million Nigerian children of the nation’s 37 million children will miss the new school resumption years starting this month due to insecurity.

So far this year, there have been 20 attacks on schools in Nigeria, with 1,436 children abducted and 16 children dead. More than 200 children are still missing.

Hawkin, in a press release, said that it was unacceptable that communities and parents should be worried to send their children to school or children to their friends and classrooms over fears they will be abducted from what should be a safe space.

According to him, these children’s first day at school which should be an exciting event for parents and children and a landmark moment in their young lives is being stolen from around a million Nigerian children this year, as insecurity threatens their safety and education.

The UNICEF’ boss stated that this insecurity must end so that children can return to their normal lives and benefit from all the important things being in school brings to them.

He added “We must put our children’s future first. We can and must tackle the insecurity, stop attacks on education, and keep schools open. The clock is ticking for our young students.”

Peter Hawkin declared “A child’s first day of school should be an exciting event for parents and children – a landmark moment in their young lives, signalling new learning and new friends that will impact their futures.

“It is unacceptable that communities should be worried to send their children to school over fears they will be abducted from what should be a safe space. It is unacceptable that children need to fear returning to their friends and classrooms – and that parents are afraid that if they send their children to school, they may never return. This insecurity must end so that children can return to their normal lives and benefit from all the important things being in school brings to them.

“But for so many Nigerian children whose education already suffered during COVID-19 lockdowns, that important day has been indefinitely postponed – and for many children still missing, it is unclear when they will ever come back home or enter a classroom again.

“For the most vulnerable children – including children affected by conflict, girl children and children with disabilities – their risk of never stepping into a classroom in their lifetime is skyrocketing. We need to end this insecurity and make our priorities clear – that Nigerian children can and must be allowed to benefit from an education in a safe space.”

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